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Social Media Does Not Ruin Productivity

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Workplace productivity may go up and down, but a new study shows that employee efficiency is not significantly impacted by social media usage.

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That’s the news from a post via the Birmingham News. Roy Williams reports:

Maybe companies need to stop blaming Face­book and Twitter for reduced workplace produc­tivity. TrackVia, a technol­ogy consulting firm, found that computer glitches and watercooler chit-chat are the biggest causes of dis­traction in the office.

In a nationwide survey conducted by the firm, 14 percent of workers cited chatting with co-workers as their biggest waste of time in the workplace, followed by dealing with computer software problems (11 per­cent). Less than 5 percent of respondents cited social media as their biggest time waster.

However, it’s easy to dismiss this study. After all, this is a self-reported survey. If you read the fine print in their infographic, it states:

..in total, 300 surveys were completed by non-IT and non C-level employees who use computers and software as part of their daily job.

So what does that mean? Does social media impact work output or not?

In reality, the TrackVia analysis indicates something much more profound: that most employees believe that other parts of work are a waste of time, not social media. The biggest loss of productivity according to survey respondents was water cooler chatter with other employees.

There is often a major difference between what individuals perceive as unproductive and what is actually unproductive. But companies that want to increase overall productivity have to start by merging perceptions and reality. And if people believe that interruptions from other coworkers are the #1 issue, then the culture needs to change to allow those annoyances to become less common.

By focusing on culture and workflow, organizations can measure their output based on what individuals believe to be important. Simply banning social media, adding or removing meetings, or moving the water cooler may have the opposite effect. It may tell people that their productivity is being monitored, but no one is asking them what they want.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
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Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. https://t.co/lJk8tIwe9q. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
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Robby Slaughter
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